Monday, June 29, 2009

Too good not to share

Saw this posted on Facebook.

What a thrill for Liam and his Father to have!

Lance Armstrong chatting with an Eight year old boy Liam during a climb in the Swiss Alps.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

An actual post about Running of all things

I thought I should actually post something about running.

I don't do much running anymore, certainly not nearly as much as I would like to.

Year to date totals for running.

183 miles, I have run 48 out of 179 days.

Last year through June 28.

777 miles, ran 140 out of 180 days. Extra day due to Leap year.

Last week I ran a paltry 12 miles.

A year ago I ran 44 miles during the same week.

My three runs last week were so much better than they felt in such a long time. I actually enjoyed running, almost felt like a runner. I had fun. I noticed I was having fun.

That is pretty remarkable for me to notice things. I tend to be oblivious. If you ask my wife, she will be glad to confirm that fact. LOL.

Thursday night, I met Laura, Kristin, Michelle and Krazy baby(Keegan) at the Irish Snug for a fun 5K run.

We ran in a light drizzle the entire time. I pushed Keegan in the baby jogger while the girls ran with each other.

Keegan had some crackers in his hand at the start of the run and still had them at the end of the run, but they had gotten rather soggy.

He kept asking where LaLa was. That is what he calls Laura. I told him every time that she was right behind us and had stopped to tie her shoes.

Keegan jabbered the entire run, noticing motorcycles, bicycles, puppies and a firetruck. We could hear thunder that was rumbling in the distance and he thought that was quite a funny noise.

After we got back to the Irish Snug, we went downstairs where the staff provides the runners with free pasta. Keegan had quite a good time eating skagetti.

This was my 10th run with the Irish Snug running club, so I received my free and very prestigious Irish Snug running shirt.

I love free stuff. I am still trying to figure out a way to finagle a free running shirt from one of my favorite bloggers. I think she is quite funny, but she insists that she is always serious. Check her out and decide for yourself.

This morning, I ran in one of my favorite areas of Denver, down a beautiful stretch of 7th Avenue with a short stretch in Cheesman Park. Beautiful tree lined streets.

I was running. I still can't run at any sort of pace, but the last three runs have been virtually pain free. I just can't remember the last time I have had three runs in a row that I have enjoyed and didn't have that chronic pain in my glute.

I will take my three runs and my twelve miles and be grateful for that gift.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

Prom weekend, March 2006

I went to see My Sister's Keeper last night. I wanted to test my emotional balance.

Surprisingly, I did better than I thought I would.
There were parts of the movie that made me feel very sad.
The scene where they showed a spinal tap.
The day I met Kelly for the very first time she had a spinal tap done that morning. She made Koolaid for Laura and Adam that afternoon.

I felt so sad that so much of her childhood was lost fighting this disease. So much was taken from her.
The prom scenes.
One of my most special memories of Kelly was prom weekend during her junior year.
The picture of Kelly and me on this blog, on Facebook, on Twitter were taken that weekend.
She looked so beautiful, so happy, so healthy.
I am so grateful to my son, Adam for giving me that memory of her. Adam and Kelly went to prom together that year.
Adam can get up and sing on stage and not feel the least bit nervous. He was nervous that night as he twirled Kelly at the promenade on the stage at her high school.
Nine months later her cancer returned after almost a 5 year remission.
There was a relapse in the movie, chemo treatments, losing her hair.
Some of the movie was hard to watch.
This hits to close to home. Trista just lost her hair from her chemo treatments.
The love interest. Did Kelly have a chance to have that? I know there was a boy she liked.
The toll on the family. Cancer didn't just impact Kelly.
Bone marrow aspiration's.
The scrap booking scenes. The last time I saw Kelly she showed me the scrapbook she was working on. Did she get to finish it?
In movies you can tie up the ending nicely.
Life isn't quite as tidy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Life lesson at Yoga

I managed to go to Yoga tonight for the first time in a couple of weeks. There was a new teacher tonight subbing for the Tuesday night instructor.

For the most part, I didn't like the class tonight. It was really hard, my legs were burning. Ouch!

I remember thinking I am not going to go to her Thursday night class.

It is interesting that when I seem to be the least open to learning, I encounter someone who has something that to teach me.

We were doing a pose called Dancer which is a balancing pose. You reach forward with one hand while grabbing your back foot. Sarah said this is a pose to teach you about the past and the future. Lean to far backwards(toward the past) and you fall. Lean to far forward(to the future) and again you fall.

Life is about being present. That is really all we have so one might as well be present.

At the end of the practice, she had us place our hands at heart center, at our lips and our thumbs at our third eye center.

Peace in your heart, peace in your words and peace in your thoughts.

I really liked that message.

She reiterated that we always close the practice by saying Namaste.

The light in me acknowledges the the light in you.

I have heard this countless times at the end of Yoga class. Tonight I listened.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Riding for Trista

I love the roaring sound of water.
Summit of Ute Pass(9,500 feet)

Blue River

Blue River Century-Getting ready to roll!

I felt very emotional as we rolled off at the start. There were approximately 275 riders that had signed up for the ride, raising money for the Lance Armstrong foundation, riding in honor or in memory of their loved ones.
I was riding in honor of my cousin's daughter, Trista Otto, age 11 who was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer. My Aunt had sent me a picture of Trista which I pinned to the back of my jersey. I received many compliments and well wishes for Trista during the ride.
I knew I wasn't really physically ready for this ride. My longest ride had only been 42-43 miles and I had done very little climbing. In some ways that was by choice as I almost felt like it wasn't fair that I could choose to train. Trista didn't get a choice about her cancer.
Off we rolled and I thought of the fight that lays ahead for Trista. I thought about Kelly's fight, the courage she had as she battled for almost 12 years.
I thought about one of the lines I really like in the Lance Armstrong Manifesto as we rode off together.
We're about the fight.
And I thought of the LLS chapter staff
And the Moms I know that fight relentlessly for their kids
And my team heroes
And my TNT teammates
And my angels
We're about the fight, about being relentless for a cure, providing support and hope in anyway we can.
So we pedaled.
There was a 5.1 mile climb to the top of Ute Pass.
After the descent there was a 20 mile per hour headwind which battered the riders. There were times I could have sworn I was riding downhill and I still had to pedal hard.
The wind was relentless, swirling. It was really discouraging. We were getting pummelled. There was nothing to do, but to pedal. So we did.
The last aid station was phenomenal. Cheese and crackers, cookies. Wonderful volunteers. Helpful, supportive, caring. One asked me about Trista. I told him I was riding in her honor. I didn't know what else to do. I just feel helpless, powerless...Riding, doing something is empowering.
They told me it was 6 miles up Montezuma road and 6 miles back to the finish. It was a long 6 miles and I got my wish. I suffered those last 6 miles of climbing. There were times I was tempted to just turnaround. No one will know.
I had to keep going. It was important for me to keep fighting for Trista. I want her to get to her finish line with a cure. If I quit, I wouldn't be honoring her. I wouldn't be honoring Kelly's memory if I gave up. So I pedaled and pedaled and I struggled to turn the pedals over. Finally I saw the sign for the turnaround. I was done climbing.
I am not done fighting.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Turning the page

Today marked the end of an era for me.

As Monica Geller explained, "an era is defined as a significant period of time. Maybe it wasn't significant to you, but it was to me!!!".

I attended my last board meeting tonight as a board of trustee member for the Rocky Mountain chapter.

I have been on the board since October 2002. I have to step down from the board(MRO, mandatory roll off) per the by-laws of the society.

I have mixed feelings about this.

In some ways I am looking forward to turning the page and seeing what happens next.

The last two years have been very difficult, marked with the loss of team hero, Gary Taylor, board members, Don Austin, Patty Kaufman and of course the biggest loss of all to me was marked by Kelly's passing 15 months ago today.

Patty was the first person to reach out to me at the first board meeting after Kelly died and shockingly she was gone 3 months later.

I have made some great friends, people that have had a huge impact on my life. I have become friends with people in other chapters that I have never met, Shayna, Jeffrey, Sarah, Kristin. People who are all unified in the efforts to find a cure for blood cancers.

I had the best cycling coach(Gary Thompson) ever during the 2003 season for the Lake Tahoe Century ride. Gary was kind enough to send Kelly a card for her birthday in 2001 when we thought we were about to lose her. That touched me greatly that he did that for her.

The staff for TNT, Light the Night, School and Youth, Man/Woman, Patient services are simply the best.

Many thanks to Anisa, Ashley, Mackenzie, Cathie, Cindy, Joni, Amanda, Tamara, Kelly, Andrea, Lynn, Lori, Katie, Georgia and a huge thanks to the executive director , Rebbecca who has helped turn our chapter into a powerhouse!

I will greatly miss working with each of you.

To the Mom's that I have so much respect and admiration for(Catherine, Krisztina, Desiree) Your commitment to your children and your families in this fight is truly inspiring.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about this final meeting tonight. I am the board secretary and I am responsible for taking the meeting minutes so in many ways it was business as usual.

Rick Peterson who has been the Board of Trustee president for our chapter the last two years, presented me with an exemplary service award. I was doing fine until he got to the last whereas in the presentation.

I got choked up as he read these final words as I think it captures the spirit of what mattered the most to me over the last 10+ years that I have been volunteering for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Whereas, Ross has been a champion for all patients and carried the banner highest, from the moment they met, and now in memory of one very special hero-Kelly Grubb.

This is what has called my heart.

15 months ago today, Kelly died after an almost 12 year battle with her Leukemia. I still miss her each and every day, but I no longer feel the sadness and the sorrow the way that I did. I was so afraid to let go of the sadness as I thought if I did that I would let go of the love I had for Kelly. Now when I see her picture I can smile and be grateful and joyful for the time I had with her. The sorrow is gone, the love is not. It was a hard lesson for me as most lessons are.

Tomorrow, I turn the page and start a new chapter. Not much will be different. The battle rages on. There will be other rides, more Light the Night walks, maybe another marathon.

It feels all too familiar.

I want a different ending...

Monday, June 15, 2009

The week ahead

On tap for this week.

Milk Truck Monday. The kind of day when you feel like you have been run over by a Milk Truck. I think today the rubber is going to meet the road on a project my team has been working on for over a year.

Tuesday-I am going to ride my bike to work for the first time this year. I struggle so much making the commitment to do that the first time.

Wednesday-My last board meeting for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. More to come on that.

Thursday-Irish Snug running with Keegan and Laura.

Friday-Heading up to Keystone for the Blue River Metric Century ride.

Saturday-Riding to honor Trista. Bring on the hills. I love going up the hills. I have complete control of that and I even get to say "On your left" a few times and pass others while I am climbing.

Descending is another story. I feel totally out of control. I don't enjoy it at all. For most people the descent is the rush and for me it brings out fear.

I had an interesting insight this morning.

I crave that feeling of being in control. When I climb, I have control of my pace, my effort, my breathing.

When I descend I have to trust and surrender and that is really hard for me.

Control? Trust and Surrender?

If you risk nothing, then you risk everything-Geena Davis

How do you live your life?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Running with Keegan

Thursday morning, I proclaimed as Thankful Thursday and posted my status message on Twitter :

Good morning. It is thankful Thursday. What three things are you thankful for today?

I got an immediate reply from a friend of mine and even got a retweet of the message. That is prestigious in Twitter land when someone reposts a message! My day was off to a good start.

I got my first run of the year in pushing my great nephew Keegan(2 1/2 years old) in the baby jogger on Thursday.

Wow, just like all of my runs have been this year, it is so much harder than it was a year ago. Keegan is a lot bigger than he was last fall.

I can't believe a year ago, I could push Keegan up some really steep hills at the Slattery 5K runs.

The Irish Snug runs are really tame compared to Slattery's and it was just totally exhausting physcially, but a lot of fun to be able to spend time with the "Krazy baby" as my daughter Laura would say.

He fussed just for a moment at the start when I left ahead of Laura, his mother(Kristin) and a friend of Laura's from high school(Michelle).

Once we got going he was fine. He kept asking where La La was. That is what he calls Laura. I kept telling him that she was right behind us and that she had to stop and tie her shoe. Silly, La La.

We saw lots of puppies, which he always likes and the highlight of the run was when Keegan saw a helicopter. He was quite excited to tell La La all about the helicopter when we got back to the Irish Snug. Keegan now knows how to make the sound of a helicopter rotor. It was really funny.

My three things that I was thankful for on Thursday:

My Family
My friends
Running with a Krazy baby!

My goal is to post a Thankful Thursday column each week.

I need to be mindful of all of the things I have to be grateful for.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Free life lesson on the golf course

Monday I had the day off from work and I went golfing with my son Adam.

I haven't been able to play much golf since I hurt my shoulder in a pratfall on my bike. I think this is the first full round of golf I have played in 3 years or so.

I have decided that 18 holes is too many holes for me. I just don't seem to be able to concentrate for an entire round any more. I think 12 holes is about my limit.

I got to the 16th hole, hit the ball on the wrong side of the fairway and was basically left with just trying to advance the ball over to the right side of the fairway and maybe be able to pitch the ball on the green and make a putt for a par.

I took a couple of practice swings. They didn't feel right. I backed away from the ball, tried again to take a couple of swings. It still didn't feel right.

I thought, oh well and just went ahead and hit the ball. Surprisingly or really not so much, I hit a terrible shot. I ended up hitting it further to the left and into some thick weeds. I had to take a drop as the ball was unplayable. Now I was even in worse shape than before and now I had no choice but to repeat the first shot that I didn't execute. Now I am about to hit my 4th shot on a Par 4 hole.

I made an even worse swing than the prior one, got the ball up in the air, hit a tree branch and splash, now the ball landed in a big pond. Another penalty stroke, I am still in the same predicament and have to somehow hit the ball to the right side of the fairway which was my original plan. Now I am about to hit my 6th shot after a couple of penalty strokes and I have advanced the ball all of about 20 yards.

I eventually hacked the ball onto the green, managed to 3 putt and ended up carding a nifty 10 on a par 4 hole.

This all started with a poor tee shot. That was okay as it was a physical mistake, bad swing off the tee. That happens in golf.

I made other physical errors as I imploded on this hole, but they were the direct result of mental miscues. I couldn't commit to my plan , didn't prepare, and when you couple those together the end result is usually disastrous. I was hitting and hoping...

I always have thought that golf teaches you a lot about life. I see other areas in my life where I don't commit and, or, I don't prepare and then I am surprised when the outcome isn't what I had hoped for.

I am going to ride a metric century in 10 days and my preparation isn't even close to where it needs to be. I know I am going to suffer that day as I haven't committed to my plan. I am not even sure I have a plan. Hitting and hoping on the bike. Gee, I wonder how that is going to turn out.

Commit to your golf shots, your family, your job. Otherwise be prepared to yell "FORE"...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

National Running Day Recap

June 3, 2009 was National Running Day. I celebrated the inaugural year of this event with a quick run with my daughter Laura.

Laura had just got home from 24 HR fitness. She had gone to a Yoga class and then did a class called 24 Set which she said was incredibly hard.

I told her today was National Running Day and I still didn't have my run in. Much to my delight she changed into her running clothes and said since it was National running day, she better go for a run.

Our three dogs were all excited as they thought they should go running as well, but they settled for their normal spot on the couch and waited for us to get back home.

We had a nice run, chatting about the hills in our neighborhood, some of her friends.

Laura has a friend of hers from high school that is really getting into running. Laura and Vicki ran the Bolder Boulder on Memorial day and Vicki is really getting into running. Vicki signed up to run the Denver 1/2 marathon this fall on National Running Day. I think Vicki is pretty cool. I have been trying for years to get Laura to run the Bolder Boulder and now that Laura has run in it she can't wait for next year.

It is pretty neat that we now have a national running day.

Lace up your shoes and start running!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Riding for Trista

I have to do something.

I just happened to see an ad in Facebook for the Blue River Century and Metric Century ride which is a benefit for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

While it may not be the smartest decision I have ever made, I feel like it is something I am supposed to be doing.

I signed up to for the metric century distance(62.1 miles, 3,500 feet of climbing). So on June 20th, I will set out to ride in Trista's honor.

I am woefully unprepared to do this, but who is ready to hear those three words. You have cancer.

I still have almost 3 weeks to train and prepare myself as best as I can to get through the day.

While I am training and able to take rest days if I need to or if I am just not feeling motivated, Trista has chemo treatments. She doesn't have the luxury of choosing.

So many times we have more than one choice as we go about our lives.

Kelly, Laiken, Brittany and now Trista and so many others, too many others.

Cancer, choose.

Choose your cancer.

It's not fair. It's just life.

Choose your life.